DOC issues circumvention rulings on steel imported via Vietnam

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Department of Commerce building
The U.S. Department of Commerce. qingwa/Adobe Stock

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) issued five affirmative determinations in anti-dumping and countervailing subsidy circumvention investigations related to steel imports that had been shipped through Vietnam but originally produced elsewhere.

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According to the Department of Commerce, the steel in question includes corrosion-resistant steel products (CORE) and cold-rolled steel (CRS) that is produced in Korea and Taiwan and then shipped to Vietnam for “minor processing.”

“As a result of today’s determinations, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to continue to collect AD and CVD cash deposits on imports of CORE and CRS produced in Vietnam using Korean- or Taiwanese-origin substrate,” the DOC said. “These duties apply to any unliquidated entries since August 2, 2018, the date on which Commerce initiated these circumvention inquiries.”

According to the DOC, cash deposit rates in the cases will be as high as 456.20%, depending on the “origin of the substrate and the type of steel product exported to the United States.”

The value of shipments of CORE from Vietnam to the U.S. skyrocketed 4,353%, from $23 million during the April 2012 to December 2015 period to $1.1 billion during the period from January 2016 to September 2019.

CORE and CRS producers whose petitions prompted the investigation were: Steel Dynamics, Inc.; California Steel Industries; AK Steel Corporation; ArcelorMittal USA LLC; Nucor Corporation; and United States Steel Corporation.

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Last month, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross met with Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh to discuss strengthening trade ties between the two countries.

“Vietnam is taking many solutions to balance its trade with the US, such as stepping up cooperative ties with the federal government and state administrations in the fields of mutual interest and encouraging the import of goods and services from the US, the minister stressed,” a Ministry of Industry and Trade release regarding the Nov. 8 meeting stated.

“Regarding cooperation in the fight against goods origin frauds and illegal transshipment, Anh suggested that the two sides should further strengthen the coordination mechanism, especially after the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) is signed in the coming time.”

U.S. trade with Vietnam totaled an estimated $62.6 billion in 2018, according to the United States Trade Representative.

The U.S. had a trade in goods deficit with Vietnam of $39.5 billion in 2018. Through the first 10 months of 2019, the U.S.’s trade in goods deficit with Vietnam was $46.3 billion, with import value already in excess of the 2018 full-year total.

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